Patrick Walker brought my
attention a few weeks ago to an article by Bruce Dickson, who is evidently a
staunch advocate of the Green Party. The gist of both articles was this: Bernie
Sanders running for president will not
(Bruce) or may not (Patrick) make it
through the primaries and therefore many of us will be compelled to support
Hillary Clinton, as Bernie has allegedly indicated he would do, given this
practice of long-standing yet mindless tradition. The logic was tight, indeed
impeccable, and a straight line trajectory of past history over the decades into
whatever might remain of our future.
I read Patrick's article some weeks ago, then went to visit my dad for his 93rd birthday and complete some business in New England. The article weighed on my mind, and I had a couple of weeks to spin it around, in waking hours and sleep, and see what "the gremlins of my subconscious" eventually had to say. Yesterday I hunted up and read Bruce's article. I now state my reasons for why I'm gearing up to vote for Bernie Sanders and how I am going about it. I present this as a "take it or leave it" article, and say as I did when I ran against Senator Hatch, that you should vote your own conscience in the end.
The logic has run out, that is clear, insofar as the possibility that Bernie could actually end up serving as a sheep dog, herding progressives into the ghastly and emetic position of seeing Hillary as a better choice than whatever loony-tune clown happens to pop out of the "Republican Bozomobile," or even whatever serious progressive might emerge from the closet on a third party ticket (in whatever states they might actually get on the ballot). We can spin wheels, as many of us do or have done, calculating this, calculating that, adding and subtracting numbers, tallying votes in different states, scrutinizing trends, listening to pundits and talking heads flapping their lips at one another, freaking out on our paperless voting, etc. etc. ad nauseum.
But I can personally go there no longer. And, at age 68, simply refuse to. Life is too short.
When logic reaches the end of its course and you find yourself in an untenable position such as this, I believe the time has arrived to move forward on a different course, using a different rudder than stretching more brain cells to steer your intellect. It is high time, past time, and long overdue for that change.
The time has arrived to vote not with our heads but rather with our hearts. I would argue that it is our failure to be guided by our hearts in the past and in the first place that has gotten us where we are now. As serious progressives, most of us have calculated, tracked numbers, spun wheels, gone in circles, written articles and comments, rallied people here and there and everywhere, marched the streets, handed out flyers, and more, for this, that, or the other candidate.
I hearken back to the days of Barry Commoner, for example click here. I was 100% behind everything this brilliant individual stood for, and most pleased, in the seventies, to see a small but zealous group at the University of Utah lobbying for him. I went to see how I might help, and sought out the leader of that battle charge. I recall it was an intense Jewish fellow, whom I approached and asked how I might use my writing skills to help. He promptly and sharply scolded me: "We don't need a writer! We need feet on the ground, we need to pass out flyers, we need to man booths, we need to get signatures! If you want to write, go home and write, but please don't talk to me!"
So I went home and wrote an editorial for the Utah Chronicle, the college newspaper, about 500 words if I remember right. It was about two weeks later that the gentleman came knocking on my door and said, "I came to apologize." Of course I let him in and we sat in my living room. "It was amazing," he said. "After your article came out, we didn't need to do any more walking. We just needed to sit at the booths and the students came marching to us. We got more signatures than we needed. So I'm very sorry for what I said and I want to personally thank you." Those were not his exact words, but they are the accurate gist of what he said.
I say this not to boast, but to bear witness to the power of correct action and what I believe was clear thinking (not always my forte, but it does happen now and then!).
Countless numbers of us did similar things for Dennis Kucinich. I personally started a free Kucinich bumper sticker campaign, wherein I anteed up about $500 for 500 bumper stickers, professionally and artfully done, clearly and simply saying, "kucinich.us". I had already scarfed up the domain name and used it as a pointer to the official Kucinich website. I asked for folks wanting one of the stickers to merely send a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Donations were welcome but not required. On average, however, people donated $5, in ones, a $5 bill, a check, and even some with small change. I was hauling in more than enough funds to bump the next round up to a few thousand stickers. All I had to do was keep a simple record (I don't think legally I even needed to do that) and stuff envelopes, which was quick and easy with a bit of organization. Sadly, Dennis did not run his campaign well and many of us suspected it may have been sabotaged from within. Shortly after my bumper sticker campaign started, the official campaign came out with a glitzy bumper sticker that didn't drive traffic anywhere and was probably unintelligible to most who saw it. (A humorous anecdote was given by a long lost friend of mine, who saw the headline of my article, here on OEN, "Free Kucinich Bumper Stickers!" and thought to herself, "Oh, hell! What did he do now to get himself locked up?") Lastly, on this note, I encourage any reader with the ambition, a bit of time, and a few hundred dollars to pick up the bludgeon of a bumper sticker campaign for Bernie (I'd be willing to give a few more ideas on it; just contact me through OEN). I think I'd skip the domain name pointer in this case and go with this: "No more bs, we want B.S.!"
In the last senatorial election, I ran against Orin Hatch, on the Justice Party ticket, with Rocky Anderson running for President. I started late, ran on a campaign of accepting no funds, and did so in this, to say it politely, somewhat backwater state of Utah. I was totally blacked out by the media. I knew that would be the case, but not to the depths and extent that I witnessed, as did an independent focused on global warming, Bill Barron, and a Constitutional Party fellow, both of whom I became friends with. I couldn't even get a short letter in the five college newspapers I approached, for example, and the Constitutional candidate was outright lied to by Brigham Young University, when they held a debate between Hatch and Howell, with none of us other candidates even being notified. The lead editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, Vern Anderson, told me to my face, with my wife standing there, that he wouldn't run a simple and well-written letter, that I tied in to a piece from a popular columnist, Robert Kirby. In hindsight, I could have done far better, given what I know now, and had I started sooner. But that's history and I did actually get 1.08% of the Utah vote (more than even Rocky, the former popular Salt Lake Mayor).
I mention this latter episode for three reasons. One, if I had social networking down better and started sooner, I could have done infinitely better, entirely sidestepping the MSM, and quite possibly posing a serious challenge to Hatch and certainly to Democrat Scott Howell. Two, I left my website up because I believe it reflects serious progressive views, stated in a way that might appeal to many conservatives (at least many of the principles seem to do so, and I actually took the lead principles from an email of a dreadfully conservative friend, who claimed no one could argue with them!). That site is www.voteutah.us, for anyone interested. Three, my plan of action, in the amazing event that I actually did get elected, was simple: Approach and befriend Bernie Sanders, asap, learn the ropes from him, and extend my circle of serious colleagues from there. The shoot my mouth off like a stuck pig and (to quote Churchill), "Never, never, never, never, quit!"
It appears clear to me that it is our overall continued "political calculations" and twisting and bending or our minds and performing intellectual yoga that have landed us where we are today, namely headed at accelerating rate directly toward extinction.
We have, on the whole, voted with our heads and not with our hearts. We lost Commoner, Kucinich, Nader, Stein, Anderson, and who knows how many others because they'd be "spoilers" and pull away Democratic votes. It is high time, imvso, to vote with our hearts. Or if you consider yourself spiritual, with your soul. I will be voting with my heart and soul, and I will cast my vote for Bernie in the primaries.
It is absolutely critical to get Bernie through the primaries, if we are serious about getting him into the presidency. This is fact, not opinion. To do that, we must keep a close eye on the primaries; we must personally and individually understand how they work in our own particular state, make clear and firm plans to vote in the primaries, and also spread the word to others as well as we can. It is a simple phone call to your state voter registration office to learn when and how the primaries work, and to register yourself as a Democratic (assuming you are befuddled by this deliberately made hurdle and maze, as I imagine many or most of us are).
Right now there are things you can do, and that I have started doing--and more power to you if you are ahead of me on this. I'm pleased to note that they involve no hyperventilating, no spinning of wheels, no running in circles, no glitz, no glitter, no cheerleading, no pounding of pavement or wearing holes in your shoes.